Datasphere Catalog: Railguns (Handheld)

Classification: Handheld Weapon Power Source: Electrical (battery or grid power) Date Invented: 2045 Inventor: Rhonda Stacks First Field Use: 2507 Last Field Use: N/A Civilian Legality: - Terran Sphere (pre-2853): Licensed adults - Confederated Worlds: Long-gun variants unrestricted; handguns with license - Rahl Hegemony: Military and police use only (sporterized equipment exempt) Advantages: - Universal, cheap ammunition - High rate of fire OR high accuracy - Standard military technology - Large slug magazine Disadvantages: - Two-part ammunition (batteries and slugs) - Inert projectiles only - Affected by strong electromagnetic fields - Overheating risk in vacuum environments Magnetically propelling tiny, inert ferroceramic slugs at ludicrous speeds, railguns dominate the military arms market due to their advantages in rate of fire and the ease with which ammunition can be synthesized in even the simplest parts fabricator. Railguns require large amounts of power to function, usually provided by fuel cells or batteries which need to be replaced after a few slug magazines worth of shots. Basic railgun ammunition is pressure-hull safe inside large starships; the hard but brittle ferroceramic shatters on impact with any surface it fails to penetrate. Armor-piercing slugs, capable of shredding heavy personal armor and pressure hulls, do exist, but they are dozens of times more difficult to fabricate and as a result are used mainly by military personnel. --- Rail Carbine --- The most common variety of infantry weapon issued by militaries throughout the Reach for several hundred years, the railgun carbine is a light, rugged weapon which has changed little since the Corona Wars of the 27th century. Lightweight, handy, and capable of rapid-fire, low-recoil fire in the tight confines of a starship's corridors and of accurate burst fire out to several hundred meters with integrated electronic optics, the main drawback of the rail carbine is that it is a jack-of-all-trades weapon which is not specialized for any particular form of combat. --- Railgun Sidearm --- A military officer’s standard-issue duty weapon is a handgun-sized railgun. Also called a rail-pistol, this smaller, more concealable variant sacrifices projectile velocity, accuracy, and magazine size over the standard carbine platform. Despite its drawbacks, a rail-pistol is not to be underestimated, especially at close quarters. Such weapons (often multiple at once) are a favorite weapon of pirates with the technical savvy to keep them tuned, as a pair of rail-pistols hardware-locked to automatic fire can lay down murderous fire in the close-quarters in corridor-to-corridor battles they initiate to take over their victims’ ships. (Art by Arnas Karmaza, AKA Mad Llama.)

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